Carl Ingebretsen’s review:
Warning: There are mild spoilers here. None of it is from more than 20 minutes into the film, so if you've seen the trailer, you should be relatively safe.
This film is so close to being good that it almost hurts. The story is decent, a "dark 'n' gritty" retelling of Snow White (if the title didn't tip you off) with extraordinary visuals and very good directing. Sadly, the dialogue is, at times, absolutely dreadful (probably the worst of the year yet), the characters are bland and the actors are merely okay.
The "prologue" works great, with Hemsworth delivering all the necessary backstory before our tale can begin, with Snow White escaping from Ravenna's clutches and venturing into The Dark Forest. The Queen and her brother sends The Huntsman after her, and off we go.
Here's also our first problem - the first act contains magic, but there's always consequences to it. You're never really sure how much magic it is. Then, when you get to the dark forest, there's a question of whether there is real magic and creatures or if it's the woods messing with your mind. Then, a wild troll appears!
It would've been nice to see some foreshadowing or set-ups, you know, worldbuilding, so that you knew what the rules of this universe were.
And it continues. Some of the things in the break between Act 1 and 2 seem to come from out of nowhere, just thrown in accidentally. In addition, I was never sure where the different characters were geographically, so a big PAN over this land would've really helped. And you get it, later in the film, but by then the "hunt" is over and geographics aren't really important anymore.
To the actors, then. Kristen Stewart is, predictably, quite terrible and so is (quite surprisingly actually) Chris Hemsworth. They suffer from mostly the same problems; not being able to deliver the (mostly terrible) lines. Hemsworth seems to be going for an Irish accent, but some of his Australian slips through. The end result is pretty terrible, of the "Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping"-variety. There's also an incredible lack of chemistry, especially since Hemsworth doesn't really have a lot to do most of the time.
Charlize Theron is, predictably, the best part of the entire film. Her hammy performance as the evil queen is probably what the role of Dracula was to Gary Oldman. Actually, this whole film is sort of what Coppola's Dracula-film is; parts of it is great, the lead is horrible beyond belief, some parts are really random and boring, but in the end it's all very entertaining. Dracula is definitely the better movie, though.
The main points of annoyance were Ravenna's brother, being boring and annoying, not bringing anything to the film, acting or character-wise. The best part is the Disney-sequence, which was pretty damn close to breathtaking.
Overall, it's a decently enjoyable film that, with a few rewrites, could've been a really, really good dark fairy tale film.